Tag Archives: foodivist

Immersed in Kickstarter Culture

11 Mar

“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”

-Tom Robbins


For the past month I have been immersed in a new-to-me culture.  I created and launched a Kickstarter campaign.  Right now we’re 63% funded with 7 days to go.  Check out the link at the bottom of this post.

My Kickstarter campaign has worked me in some deep and holy ways.  The creation, distillation and launch was an experience all to itself.  We’re mid-campaign now and the lessons are all about asking and receiving.  For me these lessons are so deep that they really should read: Asking.  Receiving.  (Repeat!)

Truly you should just go watch Amanda Palmer here: http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking

Because what she says and how she says it is just the best.  If you plan to do a Kickstarter yourself, I’d say this video is a must watch (twice).

Kickstarter is a crowd sourced funding platform. An on-line, super efficient, user friendly platform for crowd sourced funding.  People use it to produce music, make films, launch businesses, publish books and more. A person designs a campaign around their great idea and asks friends, friend’s friends and the world wide web to vote for this dream with their dollars.  People do.  They do it gladly.  And communities form.  Its completely amazing.  On March 3, 2014, Kickstarter passed ONE BILLION in pledges. That’s $1,000,000,000 pledged by 5.7 million people to creative projects! I highly recommend taking some time to surf the projects at Kickstarter.com.  I can almost guarantee you’ll be a backer by the end.  There are many amazingly creative and next level projects.

Like this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellobragi/the-dash-wireless-smart-in-ear-headphones?ref=live  These German guys and their genius wireless ear buds that are 1,027% funded!  They set their goal at 260,000, a bold move for Kickstarter (most successfully funded projects ask for $10,000 or less) and so far they’ve got 2,948 backers, pledging $2,738,411 and they still have 20 days to go.

And OMG this! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/harebrainedinc/period-panties?ref=live  A Chicago guy who puts silly cartoons on comfy undies for ladies. In his words, “Fun underwear that high-fives you for having ovaries and serves as a friendly reminder to others!”  I must say that the undies do look comfy, the cartoons are hilarious, the campaign presentation is great and the video is humble and adorable.  But here’s why I’m in love with this campaign.  The guy asked for $10,000 for his first production run. Today, he’s got 31 hours to go and the pledges are at $388,476.00 from 9,209 individual backers!

A clear example of the power of Kickstarter (which is really the power of organized people): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lindaliukas/hello-ruby?ref=live  Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities. She was looking to generate $10,000 to publish it.  But with the help of 9,258 backers she raised $380,747.00!

The Dream of a little kid comes true in real life right here.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1118548804/sequoia-emmanuelle-photography-book?ref=live.  Since she was 13, artist and photographer, Sequoia Emmanuelle, wanted to make her own coffee table book.  She launched a Kickstarter to do it just a day before I launched my own.  Her work is astounding and addicting, so it is no surprise that with 9 days to go she’s got $19,761 pledged from 264 backers. Her original goal was $15,000.

Lastly, a campaign after my own heart: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/661201405/the-rogue-valley-messenger-a-free-alternative-news?ref=live The Rogue Valley Messenger is “a new, locally-grown bi-weekly newspaper for the Rogue Valley – informed, enthused and crazy-smart!” Their campaign is simple, clear and compelling. They’re out to inform and connect this valley!  Today, with just 111 backers they’ve raised $5,097, surpassing their original goal with 42 hours to go. I’m one of those backers!

Two words come to mind when I think about how to describe the experience of doing this Kickstarter campaign.  The words are big and deep.  Big because your vision must be both clear and clearly communicated. And big because you must love what you are doing. Deep because each backer is voting for your success and each backer is kicking in to your stash from their own to make your dreams come true.  That’s a whole lot of love flowing your way.

So tonight as I’m thinking about all this, BAM!  My friend Micah Blacklight shares these words facebook and captures all of how and where I’m growing in one incredible expression. He says,  “I think it was Ghandi who is attributed the quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” and I think it SUCH a profound exhortation. I would amend it, add to it, transform it a little by saying-EMBODY THE SPACES YOU WISH TO EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD.

so many of us wait for someone else to be the welcoming space, the open arms, the one willing to lower their guard, and only then do we dare follow suit. What if YOU chose to BE the space more often, instead of looking to others to provide it? What if you BECAME the kind of space, held the kind of energy, you are super attracted to in people you look up to, or admire, or just feel good around?

It might take you a moment to overcome the fear that inevitably rises up when we step outside our comfort zones. It might take realizing we fear all kinds of things: rejection in ANY form including someone not responding to our space in a way we would have liked.. but we don’t get good at things without practice.

You can think of it as another homework assignment Micah BlackLight style; a mission you don’t have to accept at all, but it might do some thangs for ya you haven’t foreseen.. bring a bit of a different kind of fun into your sphere. Because the minute you start BEING the space you’re really attracted to or comforted by, you become a walking realm full of those characteristics, the vibe you’re diggin most. AND, there’s an automatic side-effect: you start attracting a lot more people who hold/are that kind of space, OR, they’re open to being opened BY that type of space and guess what? YOU get to be the key.. Vessel space is a powerful space.

work dat out for a mo.. chew on it if ya wanna, you might already be in the practice of doing/being that, and if you are, keep doin whatcha doin.. it heals a LOT more than you know”.

YES! Think about it.  At this moment my project has 155 backers.  That’s 155 people saying to me with $1 or $1000, “This projects rocks and I’m stoked to help it happen.”  I flung myself off the cliff of small, safe and comfortable, KNOWING that people in the world and in my community would be delighted by my willingness to do it.  That my vision would be shared and supported. And while my campaign is not safely complete well before the deadline like Sequoia’s or a slammed-dunk-home-run like the Period Panties still, I’ve got 155 people voting for me with their hard earned dollars and I have to believe more are on the way!  People are sharing the project on their social network and talking about it with friends and people are getting excited to support the place once we open.  The impact of this is impossible to predict. I like that.

The experience of campaigning for this dream via Kickstarter has been nothing short of amazing.  The way people become backers, the way friends share the link with their networks, the way total strangers become cheerleaders… it exciting, humbling, empowering!  Yesterday one of my High School English teacher gave the link a shout out on her facebook page and I was so damn touched I can’t even tell you.  So you can imagine how I burst into tears when, a few hours later, I realized that she had also become a backer! There’s magic like that in this.  With 7 days left the story unfolds.


The New, The Nearly Complete and Wild Turkeys

3 Mar

It has been a little while since I blog-diddy-blogged and I think I have a lot to say.

Springtime on the farm almost.  We’ve had a lot of rain.  All over town the forsythias are boldly blooming, while the apples and lilacs are just barely leafing. I swear I fall in love a thousand times a day as winter releases into this potent blooming of everything alive!  Daffodils, baby cows, violets, leafing trees, the first farmer’s market of the season…  Oh, you’re right there with me?  Awesome!


Birth.  Emergence.  The Push.

To illustrate the life of a farmer in almost spring one could draw a pair of eyes taking in the entire horizon and connecting that image via dotted lines to a brain full of words that scroll like the words at the beginnig of Star Wars. But instead of an epic saga, its an epic To-Do List.  And that is how it is here with us.

Except that this spring I am in the process of building a brick and mortar, I’m actively fundraising via Kickstarter and I’m moving out of Jacksonville.

Before farm and store and fundraising and moving,  I’m mom. So I’ve got to say here that our silly little child turned 5 last week!  Five is big and doesn’t she know it!?!



On the birthday we went up to the mountains for some sledding.  It was a beautiful outside and we had an awesome time. It was a wonderful break from the construction and hustle that is and has been the focus of my days.

Last week was all about launching the Kickstarter campaign and getting the plumbing into the shop and so many things were out of my hands.  I filled up my nervous idle time with the zen of painting the furniture for our store. Bright colors, physical labor and obvious results were just what I needed!



And BE had fun too.


Today we went to the J’ville house to get the “kitchen”.  The stove, counters, shelves and our beloved bicycle spice grinder.  It was a successful mission.

On our way there, BE and I encountered the biggest flock of turkeys we’ve ever seen. There were easily 50 birds, all crossing the road and headed into the hills.


The encounter was especially auspicious because in folklore turkeys represent abundance and we had just come from the auto parts place where we were trying to get parts to fix the brake lights on our borrowed trailer but instead we got this rhinestone studded Money keychain for the new shop’s keys.


“I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind!”

This brings us to Kickstarter’s genius mode of organizing crowd sourced funding and the incredible opportunity they offer to people like me. Using their platform, I’ve created a project and now I’m asking my friends, family, peers and fellow citizens of the world to back it.  Collectively we are making this thing real. Follow this link to learn more and get involved.  I sure hope it inspires you to!

A successfully funded campaign builds this kitchen and storefront.  Then I’ll take this potent lil’ brick and mortar and ROCK it like a hurricane.

Bling diddy Bling! 

While Kickstarter makes designing the campaign very easy, still it is one of the most challenging and deeply personal experiences of my life. To communicate my intentions clearly, to take a very public, very flying leap out of hibernation and to ask for help from friends and strangers are all uber humbling endeavours.  I am doing my best to muster sustained trust.  Yet,  I’m feeling a bit like these two turkeys…. one moving toward the goal with focus while the other meandering back the way she came.


As I step out and create this brand new thing, I am mining the gems from my previous life.  Some are physical tools and stuff.  But most are rememberings distilled into clear hindsight and rich life lessons.


Lessons that empower the launch of the new and stuff that enhances our now.  Like this plastic toy that entertained BE on our way outta J’ville today.


And the five jugs of Mate Fire that I found in a box today!   A most thirst quentching reunion ensued!  Just. Yum.  (Don’t be jealous.)


My longing for Mate Fire, for Habanero Honey Brew and for Heartsong Chai is the ultimate fire of this gigantic project I’ve created.  It was a true joy to down a good portion of this jug today (6 years in a bottle yet so revitalizing and delicious)!

And so today the kitchen moved from J’ville to GP and our trusty bicycle grinder is one step closer to her next spice grinding mission! And this week the plumber and the electrician will work their magic and bring us even closer.


YOU can help us too! By liking this blog, sharing it with friends, visiting the Kickstarter campaign, becoming a backer, telling all your friends to back it too and by taking a moment to picture it all coming together with grace and ease!

There’s more painting to do too, if’n you are needing some zen in your life. As always, thanks for reading and witnessing the words of my world.

Letting It All Hang Out

19 Jan

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?  I’ve been looking at what lies underneath that fear and I’m here to say that If you are anything like me, its a very hard to get to but very sweet relief.  Let it ALLLL hang out!  Simple as that.  Riiiiight.


This post is about getting back on the horse.  About how simple that sounds and how hard it is.  For me, getting back on the horse has been wrapped up in a thousand layers of getting over myself.  And it has been hard.  Real hard.

I’m a reemerging entrepreneur.  This experience is allowing me to realize that ultimately, I operate on faith.  And maybe, just maybe, that should be a capital F.  Now, I can’t explain faith and I sure don’t understand it intellectually.  But I can’t deny that if I had to put a word on that core fuel of my life’s fire, the absolute essence of my heart’s motivation…. its faith: faith in life itself and faith in my own life.

My first venture as an entrepreneur was a 9 year run with a tea company.  It was a wonderful, wild, extreme adventure and I loved it.  It crashed and burned hard in 2008.  The bureaucratic and financial convulsions of the company’s death still reach out and slap me from time to time.  Its. Like. That.


So many of my essentials burned in the flames of that crash: my identity, credit, job, house, self respect … you name it.   And it altered many a friendship, like maybe all of them.  Because it left me questioning my self, my abilities, my worth, and what I’m bringing/have to offer. The investors in my company were people who know and love me, they lost their money by investing in my venture and this is undoubtedly one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced.  It weighs heavy in me and I have not been able to forgive myself this.  The results of this heavy over time are obvious: being closed to collaboration, seeing my ideas as a liability, the can’t-commit-but-can’t-quit dance, and a smattering of other small makings.  I’ve been holding this tight and I thank you for listening. **


Look!  A Banana slug!


Meanwhile I’ve been making teas again and selling them at farmers markets, running an itty bitty lil’ tea company called Uber Herbal Inc.  I also sell online at Etsy.com.  Business has been going pretty great.  I’ve been integrating the farm I live on into the products I sell with a Farm Direct line of tea blends, soaking blends and gift boxes filled with things like dehydrated watermelon, crab apple chutney, pickled peppers and smoked hot sauces.  The potential here is pretty great.  Here’s the kicker: the way I’ve been able to get back into business is by licensing the kitchen in my stuck-in-the-irons-of-foreclosure home that has yet to be seized by the bank. Talk about rising from the ashes, eh?  And here’s the thing.  I have GOT to get out of there!  It is high time to complete with alllll of the above.  And that means that it is time to get back on the horse.

So now and yet again, it boils down to faith.

There is victory in these words tonight my friends.  These are the distilled thoughts from a two hour drive time.  Here’s me realizing that I’ve been holding everything too close and that to move forward, I’ve got to let it all hang out!  That I’ve got to speak to the heavy till it is light, I’ve got to speak my dreams till they manifest, and then I’ve got to speak the new dreams too.  Tonight when I sat down at this machine, out flowed a 7 page business plan.  And when I sat down again, This!


And once again, YOU!  Choosing to witness my process, that’s awesome!  Thank you.

** Yes, I have read the book ‘Great Failures of the Extremely Successful’.  Yes, I know how common it is for small companies and virgin entrepreneurs to fail.  Yes, 2008 was a hard year. Yes, I learned a lot.  Heartsong was a thing of beauty in so many ways… #habanerohoneybrewforever… best chai ever… I know, I do.  Thank you!  Seriously, thank you. 😉

Bully to Bullion

9 Jan


This is Rammy’s heart.  It is outside his body now.  In the freezer, to be exact.  His mean streak escalated to the point that he began charging us and there is just no turning that habit around.

Of course his incredible destructiveness also contributed to his demise.  There’s this:


and this:


and this entire fence line:


Rammy repairs have begun, these green T posts are the beginning of a new fence line. The barnyard creatures are establishing their new pecking order.  And most of the labor of processing his body is complete.  The hide is skinned, pinned and salted.  The meat is cut and frozen.  The bone broth finally came off the heat today.  It turned out beautifully.


Here it is in the cookpot.  And here it is in the jar.


We’re jerking all the back and neck meat with a Bresaola recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book.  Its one day into a five day brine right now.  I tried another, quicker recipe from said book, Spiced Hot Smoked Liver, improvising a bit on the spice blend.


I rubbed the spice blend into the liver and it sat for 4 hours.


Then I wiped it off and smoked it with maple wood for an hour.  I must admit I’m not a fan of liver but I do know it is a healthful medicine, so I wanted to try this but I wasn’t exactly thrilled to eat it.  I did try it tonight and besides tasting like liver, the spicing turned out really nice.  If you live local to me and you love liver, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll gladly bring you some slices of this latest work of art.

I can’t get my man to eat organ meat with me (yet).  But I have been reading a ton about it and experimenting a little.  Partially because I don’t want to waste any thing from these gorgeous creatures who died so that we may be nourished.  And partially because I believe the organs are incredible sources of power.  Last month when my child was sick and my man was really, really sick, I ate a lamb’s heart to strengthen my body’s fight to be well.  I think it was the strength I needed, I did not get sick.

And while we’re talking about organ meat, I am well aware that the source of Rammy’s destructive behavior was his nut sack.  Raging testosterone is what fueled his hours upon hours of head banging every object that stood between him and his girls.  It is what kept him at the top of the barnyard pecking order and it is what eventually turned him mean.  So I harvested them, yes.  But they have yet to hit the fry pan….. we’ll see. Here they are anyway, one straight out of the sack and one skinned.


Rammy was one of the first sheep we got, he was three months old and we named him Gendry because we love the Game of Thrones book series.  We watched him grow into his manhood and become a force to be reckoned with.  We could jovially tell you all of his courting rituals and many a hilarious story about his manhood.  We had him just over two years and we have loved him beyond reason (obviously!  what real farmer would allow so much property destruction?)  When the day of his death came, he knew.  He’d been chained up like a junkyard dog for two days, giving everyone on the farm a much needed break from his dominion.  The day was perfect!  A chilly morning that gave way to a glorious winter day.  Here is a silly shot of our livestock guardian dogs that morning.


From my facebook page: “Some things cannot be counted in a straight line. Like going from one kid to two kids, its an exponential growth and not easily calculated. Turns out butchering a ram rather than a lamb is similar. We got started at 9 am yesterday and I was still cutting meat at midnight! Today we are sore and spun, but satisfied. I keep thinking about it and the word that sticks is Beautiful. That might seem odd, but its my truth. We spent lots of time with him in the morning, brushing him and thanking him and recollecting, it was deeply sweet. His death was resigned and easy. D cuts the throat, no guns involved. We held him and loved him as he passed. I love him still. Raising animals like this is a labor of love and requires great stamina… heart, mind and body.”

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise animals, harvest them intentionally and turn them into medicine for people.  I am touched by each animal born here and each life we take.  And I am forever improved for having raised, known and slaughtered our Rammy.  RIP and thanks for the snacks!